Blood Brothers Cocktail

Blood Brothers Cocktail

An evocative potion of blood oranges and Agavero (the tequila liqueur) is paired with the “soldiers’ herbs” of tarragon & coriander seeds. These anise flavors with hints of raspberries are softened with essence of the floral coriander and earthed by the natural sweetness of pure maple syrup. Celebrate this crimson cocktail together with your own “blood brothers”.

2 servings


2 1/3 ounces of Agavero liqueur
3 ounces of Sicilian blood orange (recommended cultivar: moro)
1/3 ounce of pure maple syrup
20 leaves of fresh tarragon (recommended: organic)
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds

Total: about 6 ounces per pair of servings (guide for glassware)


Glass half of the Boston shaker
3-piece Cobbler shaker
Utility knife and chopping board
Muddler (preferably stainless steel and plastic)
Fine strainer
Jug or juice container
Tall shot glassware (3 ½ ounces), or small martini glassware, for service


Chill the glassware and spirits until ready for use.

Prepare the coriander and tarragon:
Rinse the tarragon and pat dry with a paper towel. Measure the required amounts into the glass half of the Boston shaker along with the coriander seeds. Add a splash of the required amount of Agavero. With the flat side of the muddler placed into the base, apply downward pressure using the insides of your palm. Muddle until most solid ingredients are well broken up, then add the remainder of the spirits and filter through the fine strainer into the 3-piece cobbler shaker. Add the maple syrup.

Make the cocktail:
Juice the blood orange shortly before serving, and using the fine strainer again, filter into a jug. Measure the required amount into the Cobbler shaker.

Top up the Cobbler shaker (about ¾ full) with ice cubes. Attach the top half with the built-in strainer, followed by the cap/lid (sequence prevents too much air from being trapped inside). Shake and chill the cocktail shaker with firm, concise and vigorous strokes until your hands can’t take the cold.

Strain into the pair of tall shot glasses, straight up. Serve immediately.

[Mixologist’s notes: 1 ounce is equivalent to 30 milliliter (ml), 1/3 ounce is equivalent to 10 milliliter (ml); 2 teaspoon is equivalent to 5 milliliter (ml). Agavero is a liqueur made up of two types of 100% blue agave tequilas, namely the reposado {rested for almost a year} and the añejo {aged for at least two years}, and flavored with the distinctive sweet essence of the Damiana flower indigenous to the region.]

Recipe and photo by Damian Sim


April’s theme of artichokes and tarragon threw my palate off balance due to their unfamiliarity, especially the former. To my knowledge, there were no restaurants in town that served artichokes as a main, nor did it feature prominently even when it was used (which by itself is a rare case here in Singapore). Artichokes are also quite a curious item, where one is not exactly sure what it is (a flower bud, actually).

As with many of the themes featured so far at The Gilded Fork, artichokes have an aphrodisiac reputation, and their alter ego at the bar comes in the form of the liqueur Cynar. An intriguing effect of eating artichokes, however, is that they leave a sweet taste in the mouth that affects subsequent flavors on the palate, so I passed on them for April’s cocktail.

As for tarragon the “dragon herb”, I had not tried any dishes in which it featured prominently, but am a bit more familiar with its anise flavor. In fact, this particular flavor is seldom seen in the cuisines in Singapore, and likely experienced by most Asians through the anise-flavored Sambuca liqueur. Interestingly, the plant’s roots, if not divided regularly, would actually start to strangle themselves (definitely a freedom loving herb!). Used by the ancient Greeks as a painkiller (due to a compound called eugenol) for toothaches, it was also known as the “soldiers’ herb” for its anesthetic and perceived anti-venom qualities.

The thought of soldiers brought to mind inspirational battles fought against great odds, such as Cinco de Mayo, the legend of the 300 Spartans, and the archetypal David versus Goliath story. Along these lines, coriander seeds (actually fruits) came to mind, as they were once used by soldiers to prevent wound infections. Coriander seed’s wonderfully uplifting floral/citrus notes gave the anise-flavored tarragon a more appealing dimension.

With wars come crimson images, a hue that had inspired the namesake of the Sicilian blood orange. The Moro variety was selected for its “full-blooded” color. From the Mexican battle mentioned, Agavero (the tequila liqueur) came to mind. Its main flavor component, the Damiana flower (yes, an aphrodisiac too, albeit an ancient Mayan one), was also known to stir up emotions – a fine complement to the blood oranges used. Sweet with a hint of raspberry, blood oranges are also known as one of the most nutritious types of oranges.

The last element in the recipe comes from the “blood” of the maple tree – maple syrup. An American Indian heritage, it completed the recipe inspired by the courage and sacrifices of warriors throughout history. This stirring theme of brothers-in-arms fighting against all odds led to the evocative “Blood Brothers” cocktail, served in a pair of shots.